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Julie Spray

Working at the nexus of medical anthropology and the anthropology of childhood, this article challenges three assumptions often embedded in child health policy: (1) children are the passive recipients of healthcare; (2) children’s knowledge of illness and their body can be assumed based on adult understandings; and (3) children’s healthcare can be isolated from their social relations. I explore these themes through the case study of a 2011 New Zealand government initiative to reduce the rates of rheumatic fever affecting low-income Māori and Pasifika children. Drawing on fieldwork with around 80 children at an Auckland primary school, I show how the ‘sore throat’ programme does not merely treat streptococcus A infections, but plays an active role in constituting children’s experiences and understandings of their bodies and illness, and in shaping healthcare practices in ways unintended by policy-makers.

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The Revenge of Neglected Issues

EU Founders and Social Policy

George Ross

The founders of European integration had to make momentous choices that have since deeply marked the EU. They decided to focus their efforts on market-building, hypothesizing that economic interdependency would lead in time to “spillover“ beyond the new Europe's original mandates, a decision that left many key dimensions of national sovereignty outside the mandate of integration. One of these dimensions was social policy, roughly defined as the welfare state and labor relations. This division between what the EU could and could not do has lasted, with limited exceptions, to the present. Market integration over time, however, indirectly shifted the ground under national social models, sometimes imposing adjustments that have worked against the legitimacy of Europeanization. More recently the EU, concerned about the need for social policy reform to confront globalization, has attempted to coordinate national social model change by “soft power“ methods. These methods, by and large, have not been effective. This essay will discuss the consequences of the founders' choices historically.

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Margit Mayer

German nonprofits active in support work for unemployed and marginalized groups have undergone significant transformation in the context of recent social and labor market reforms. Drawing on the findings of a three-year research project on such local work-insertion organizations in Berlin, the article discusses some of the problems and potentials of nonprofits in the reshaping of welfare and employment policies. It shows how the service providers implementing these new policies and delivering the new benefits face a new competition from private, for-profit agencies as well as constraints set by the formal contracts which the new instruments entail. As they now have to deliver enhanced self-activity of their clients, are called upon to nurture and make use of "social capital" in their work fields, and are involved, as civil society "stakeholders," in new local partnerships between the municipality, the employment office and private sector actors, they lead us to question prevailing views in the voluntary sector scholarship.

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Syed Shahbaz Hussain and Pirzada Sami Ullah Sabri

This article analyzes and explores what policies Pakistan adopted to tackle its environmental challenges, effects and outcomes. The research consists of an overview of Pakistan's national environmental policy development and explains the motives and reasons to understand in what context the state formulates these policies. It also makes assessments and evaluations about to what extent policies are successful in achieving their objectives. The study suggests some implications of the Pakistan experience to cope with the global challenges of environmental protection.

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La course au centre

Policy Convergence and Partisanship in France, 1981-2002

Sally Marthaler

Policy convergence between the political parties and the perception among voters that there is little to choose between left and right may be factors in the declining levels of partisanship observed in many advanced industrial democracies, including France, where these conditions emerged in the 1980s. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this article analyzes changes in the actual and perceived level of convergence between the mainstream parties in France from 1981 to 2002. It finds evidence of increasing policy convergence over the period as a result of a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors. It concludes that left-right ideological labels are still important to voters, even though they too have moved to the center, and that many of them want to see a clear dividing-line between the parties. The blurring of the boundaries between left and right and the “reversibility” of the mainstream parties has also enhanced the appeal of alternative and extremist parties.

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The Emergence of the Bus Industry

Dutch Transport Policy during the Interwar Years

Ruud Filarski

During the interwar period, the emergence of the bus industry presented many governments with a dilemma: should they intervene in the market to establish a level playing field for fair competition between the buses and rail transport, should they protect the loss-making railways or should they take a laissez-faire approach to the developments?

At first glance, promoting fair competition or, as it was called during those days, a "co-ordination policy" seems relatively simple. The government could impose conditions on the bus industry, which regulated safety, quality, services, and allocation of the infrastructure costs in a similar way as the railways. However, an analysis of the developments in The Netherlands reveals a number of obstacles that complicated policy implementation.

Therefore, this article focuses on two questions: how did bus transport develop in The Netherlands? And what obstacles made it so difficult for the Dutch government to implement fair competition?

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Governance of or through culture?

Cultural policy and the politics of culture in Europe

Banu Karaca

The notion of culture has loomed large in discourses and polemics regarding European integration and immigration in the European framework. While culture, as in fundamental cultural difference, is identified as the source of contemporary political quandaries, its incarnation as intercultural dialogue is conceived as their solution. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the arts settings of Berlin and Istanbul, this article elucidates how this type of "culture talk" intersects with recent cultural policy formations in the European Union and the national arenas of Germany and Turkey. Much of the political productivity of culture arises from a constant slippage between the different, often contradictory, meanings accorded to the culture-concept. This extension of the "rhetoric of culture" engenders a shift from a governance of culture to one through culture by relaying an array of pressing political concerns from the realm of social and economic policy to that of culture in the sense of artistic expression.

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The Logic of Welfare

Religious and Sociological Foundations of Social Policy Rationality

Elmar Rieger

The article aims to contribute to the sociological theory of the welfare state by addressing a fundamental puzzle of social policy, namely, the weakness of its claim to be a rational effort of society dealing with problems of social integration. Drawing on the work of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, I distinguish between the cultural or ideational side of the welfare state and the social engineering or outcome side, arguing to take the rhetoric and symbolism of social policy more seriously. The integration of society is more due to the communicative action of social policy than to its organizational quality. As early as the axial age civilizations, symbolism and ideology emerged as an autonomous field of social conflict and societal union. Taking ancient Israel as an example, I argue that societal integration may take place even in the absence of strong institutional correlates of social politics. This can help to explain why the welfare state in modern society is compatible with ever-increasing economic and social inequality.

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Band Development in Northern Ireland

Ethnographic Researcher to Policy Consultant

Jacqueline Witherow

This article examines the concept of 'band development' taking place within the parading band culture in contemporary Northern Irish society. The parading tradition in Northern Ireland today is associated with two main characteristics; first, the public image of contemporary parading traditions is mainly negative due to its association with parading disputes that particularly developed in the 1990s. Second, that aggressively Protestant Blood and Thunder flute bands have become a dominant feature of these public performances. It is these ensembles that are defining people's notions of what parading bands represent. This article will discuss how ethnographic research with these bands allowed engagement on a policy level to take place, leading to 'band development'.

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Lauri Siitonen

This is a comparative study of development policy behavior, testing the Europeanization hypothesis and the idea of sub-regional identification. It examines development policies of three Benelux countries and four Nordic countries. The comparison was partly quantitative, drawing from OECD data, and partly qualitative, based on policy analysis of similarities and differences in development policies of the countries under examination. The examination provides some evidence in support of the Europeanization hypothesis as far as the EU goals towards growth in member states’ aid volume and commitment to policy coherence for development were concerned. The alternative explanation was found to be stronger in helping understand performance in multilateral aid and allocation of bilateral aid. Common to the countries under examination is that they approximate a corporatist type of political economy, which helps in understanding identification and norm diffusion within sub-regional schemes. Neither explanation proposed here succeeded in explaining commitment to donor coordination.

Spanish abstract: Este estudio comparativo del comportamiento de la política pública de desarrollo prueba la hipótesis de Europeización y la idea de identifi cación subregional. Las políticas públicas de desarrollo de tres países de Benelux y cuatro países Nórdicos fueron examinadas. La comparación fue cuantitativa y cualitativa, basada en análisis de similitud de política pública y diferencias en las políticas de desarrollo. El examen provee evidencia que apoya la hipótesis de Europeización tan lejos como las metas de crecimiento de la UE en volumen de ayuda y compromiso de coherencia de política de desarrollo de los estados miembros eran considerados. Se encontró sólida en ayudar entender el desempeño de la cooperación multilateral y la asignación de cooperación bilateral. Los países bajo estudio aproximan un tipo corporativista de economía política, que ayuda entender la identifi cación y difusión de normas dentro de esquemas subregionales. Ninguna explicación propuestas explica el compromiso con la coordinación del donante.

French abstract: Cett e étude comparative évalue l’hypothèse de l’européanisation et l’idée de l’identification sous-régionale. Elle examine les politiques de développement des pays membres de deux schémas européens sous-régionaux : les trois pays du Benelux et les quatre pays nordiques. La comparaison est en partie quantitative à partir des données de l’OCDE et en partie qualitative, car elle se fonde sur une analyse de politiques publiques des similarités et des différences dans les politiques de développement des pays étudiés. L’analyse apporte des éléments en faveur de l’hypothèse de l’européanisation dans la mesure où les objectifs de l’EU en matière d’augmentation du volume de l’aide et de l’engagement en faveur de la cohérence des politiques publiques pour le développement (CPD) sont concernés. Cependant, l’explication alternative est avérée car elle permet de comprendre la performance de l’aide multilatérale et l’allocation de l’aide bilatérale. Un point commun entre les pays étudiés est qu’ils s’approchent d’un modèle corporatiste d’économie politique qui aide à comprendre l’identification et la diffusion normative à l’intérieur de cadres sous-régionaux. Cependant, aucune des explications proposées ne réussit à expliquer l’engagement en matière de coordination des donateurs.